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11 Benefits of the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card [2023]

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Katie Seemann
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Katie Seemann

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Katie has been in the points and miles game since 2015 and started her own blog in 2016. She’s been freelance writing since then and her work has been featured in publications like Travel + Leisure, F...
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f you fly on Southwest Airlines often, you may be wondering if a Southwest co-branded credit card makes sense to have in your wallet. There are 5 Southwest cards to choose from, and in this post, we’ll focus on the benefits of the entry-level option: the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card.

We’ll look through the perks of the Southwest Plus card in detail to help you decide if it’s right for you, or if a different Southwest credit card may be a better fit.

Southwest Plus Card Overview

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

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This card makes it easy to earn unlimited points and qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

This card makes it easy to earn unlimited points and qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass.
Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Earn 50,000 points
$650
$69
21.49% - 28.49% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

If you spend a lot of time in the air, it’s important to get a great deal on your plane tickets.

Southwest Airlines can help you get those deals.

One way to save is by using the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card. This card helps you earn points for all your spending, and earning more reward points is always a good thing for a busy traveler!

Pros

  • 2x points per $1 on Southwest purchases
  • 2x points per $1 on local transit and commuting, including rideshares
  • 2x points per $1 on internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming
  • 3,000 anniversary points each year on your card renewal
  • 2 EarlyBird Check-In certificates per year
  • 25% back on inflight purchases

Cons

  • $69 annual fee
  • Does not earn transferable rewards
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • 3,000 anniversary points each year.
  • Earn 2X points on Southwest® purchases.
  • Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare.
  • Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming.
  • 2 EarlyBird Check-In® each year.
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Member FDIC

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 21.49% - 28.49% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Southwest Rapid Rewards Frequent Flyer Program

11 Southwest Plus Card Benefits

The entry-level Southwest Plus card has a low annual fee, which means its list of benefits isn’t too long. However, this card could still make sense for some Southwest flyers who are looking for a low-cost way to collect lots of points or for those who don’t want to pay a large annual fee.

1. Earn Southwest Rapid Rewards Points

One of the biggest benefits of the Southwest Plus card is the ability to earn lots of Rapid Rewards points through your everyday spending. Here’s a look at how you earn points when making purchases on the card:

  • 2x points on Southwest Airlines purchases made directly with the airline
  • 2x points on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners
  • 2x points on local transit and commuting, including rideshares
  • 2x points on internet, cable, and phone services
  • 2x points on select streaming services
  • 1x points on all other purchases

You’ll also earn a welcome bonus when signing up for the Southwest Plus card and meeting the minimum spending requirement. The bonus changes from time to time, but you can typically expect to earn anywhere from 30,000 to 50,000 Rapid Rewards points.

Hot Tip:

The Southwest Plus card has the lowest earning rate for Southwest purchases of any of the Southwest credit cards. If you spend a lot on Southwest flights, you might be better off with a different Southwest card that earns 3x or 4x points on flights with the airline.

There’s another way to earn points with the Southwest Plus card, but it’s not recommended in most circumstances. The Southwest Plus card earns points on balance transfers. You’ll earn 1 Rapid Rewards point per dollar on up to $10,000 in balance transfers in the first 90 days after account opening. While that sounds nice on the surface, the card does have a balance transfer fee which can wipe out the value of any points you may earn, so it’s probably best to avoid this as a way to earn more Rapid Rewards points.

Hot Tip:

If you’re planning on doing a balance transfer you’ll most likely be better off using a card that offers a 0% introductory APR instead of the Southwest Plus card.

2. Complimentary EarlyBird Check-In

The Southwest Airlines boarding process is unique because instead of getting a seat assignment before your flight, you get a boarding position that’s based on the time you check in for your flight. Once you’re on the aircraft you’ll be able to choose whatever seat is open, meaning those who have a better boarding position will have more seating options.

For those who don’t want to remember to check in exactly 24 hours before their flight, there’s EarlyBird Check-In. EarlyBird Check-In costs between $15 to $25 per person per flight and automatically checks you in, which gets you a better boarding position and allows you to choose a more desirable seat.

If you have a Southwest Plus card, you’ll get 2 complimentary EarlyBird Check-In credits each year. This can be a valuable benefit for anyone that flies Southwest Airlines even just once per year.

3. Anniversary Bonus Points

Southwest Plus cardholders receive 3,000 bonus points after their card account anniversary. These points will be automatically applied to your Southwest account each year after you pay your annual fee.

We value Southwest Rapid Rewards points at ~1.3 cents each, so this bonus is worth ~$39.

4. Southwest Companion Pass Boost

The Southwest Companion Pass is one of the best ways to save lots of money on travel. It allows you to bring a companion on every Southwest flight you take for only the cost of taxes and fees ($5.60 one way for a domestic flight) for up to 2 years.

Without the Southwest Plus card, you’d need to earn 135,000 qualifying points in a calendar year to get a Companion Pass. However, Southwest Rapid Rewards credit cardholders get a 10,000-point boost each year which essentially reduces the required number of points to earn a Companion Pass from 135,000 to 125,000. These points are only good for Companion Pass qualification and aren’t redeemable for travel.

10k companion pass points boost
As a Southwest Plus cardholder, you’ll get an annual 10,000-point boost toward Companion Pass qualification. Image Credit: Southwest
Bottom Line:

Points earned from spending and welcome bonuses on Southwest cards count towards Companion Pass qualification.

5. Southwest Plus Card Referral Bonus

If you have a Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card, you may have the ability to refer friends and family to apply for any Southwest credit card. When they are approved, you’ll earn bonus Rapid Rewards points. One of the best parts of this perk is that points earned from referral bonuses also count toward Companion Pass qualification.

6. Save on Inflight Purchases

You’ll save 25% on Southwest inflight purchases, such as drinks and Wi-Fi, by paying with the Southwest Plus card. The discount, which is also extended to any authorized users, comes as a statement credit that should post to your account on the same day as the purchase.

7. Access to Chase Offers

Access to Chase Offers comes with any Chase card, including the Southwest Plus card. These are card-linked deals that can save you money on your everyday purchases. Each offer needs to be added to the card prior to making a purchase.

These offers are targeted and include a wide variety of vendors, including discounts on Southwest Airlines purchases.

Chase Offers on Southwest credit card
Chase Offers can save you money on Southwest flights and more. Image Credit: Chase

8. Baggage Delay Insurance

Frequent travelers will most likely be affected by a baggage delay at some point. The Southwest Plus card offers reimbursement for basic items like toiletries and clothing when your bags are delayed more than 6 hours by a common carrier (airline, bus, train, or cruise ship). This benefit covers you for a maximum of $100 per day for up to 3 days.

9. Lost Luggage Reimbursement

The Southwest Plus card includes lost luggage reimbursement coverage for both the cardholder and immediate family members. If a common carrier (airline, bus, train, or cruise ship) damages or loses checked or carry-on luggage, you’re eligible for up to $3,000 per passenger.

10. Purchase Protection

The Southwest Plus card offers purchase protection coverage of up to $500 per claim ($50,000 maximum per account) when a new purchase is damaged or stolen within 120 days.

11. Extended Warranty Protection

The extended warranty benefit on the Southwest Plus card adds an additional year to a U.S. manufacturer’s warranty when the original warranty is 3 years or less.

Final Thoughts

The Southwest Plus card is the entry-level option in the Southwest co-branded card family. While it offers a low annual fee, its list of benefits isn’t as robust as some of the other Southwest cards. However, it could still be a good option for someone looking for a low-cost way to earn lots of Southwest Rapid Rewards points and also enjoy a few basic Southwest-related perks like EarlyBird Check-In and the ability to save 25% on inflight purchases.

Travelers who are interested in more comprehensive airline perks or elite status would be better off with a different Southwest card.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many anniversary bonus points does the Southwest Plus card earn?

Each year after your Southwest Plus card’s renewal, you’ll earn 3,000 anniversary bonus points, which are worth about $39.

What is the credit limit on the Southwest Plus card?

The credit limit on the Southwest Plus card will vary based on your creditworthiness and other factors, including how much credit you already have with Chase.

Does the Southwest Plus card have a foreign transaction fee?

Yes, the Southwest Plus card charges a foreign transaction fee so you’ll want to use a card that doesn’t have foreign transaction fees when traveling internationally.

What bank holds the Southwest credit cards?

All 5 Southwest credit cards are issued by Chase.

Does Southwest have a card without an annual fee?

No, every Southwest card charges an annual fee. The Southwest card with the lowest annual fee is the Southwest Plus card.

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About Katie Seemann

Katie has been in the points and miles game since 2015 and started her own blog in 2016. She’s been freelance writing since then and her work has been featured in publications like Travel + Leisure, Forbes Advisor, and Fortune Recommends.

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